Natural Treatment for Menstrual Migraines By Nicole Kerr, ND

get menstrual migraines. Menstrual migraines can start two days before the period begins and up to three days after the period ends. Hormones can trigger menstrual migraines during ovulation, menses, perimenopause and menopause. Symptoms include: one-sided, throbbing, nausea inducing with or without vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound.


Migraine Triggers Migraine diaries are a great way to

evaluate the cause of your migraines. Common triggers for migraines that are not hormone related include: poor sleep, alcohol, high tyramine foods, smoked or cured meat, banana, avocado, chocolate, excessive caffeine, changes in weather, stress, food additives like MSG, artificial sweeteners, inhaling strong odors, miss- ing meals, and fatigue. A diary can help rule out any of these culprits as additional contributing factors of migraines.

Hormone Levels

If you suffer migraines and are on hor- monal birth control, you need to discuss the option of a low estrogen pill with your prescribing doctor. Reducing the amount

ccording to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 60% of women suffering from migraines

of estrogen in your monthly birth control can help reduce menstrual migraines and also lower your chances of ischemic stroke. Women suffering migraines with aura are at a higher risk of ischemic stroke when using combined oral contraceptives, according to American College of Cardiol- ogy. Those not on hormonal birth control are often encouraged to go on birth con- trol to regulate their migraine symptoms, but there are other options.

Having your hormone levels evaluat- ed through bloodwork, urinary testing or salivary testing is the first step to correct- ing menstrual migraines. Looking at other blood levels may be performed too, such as serotonin metabolite level and red blood cell magnesium. Serotonin is the primary hormonal trigger for headaches and is believed by some researchers to be an inherited disorder that affects the way serotonin is metabolized. Estrogen is the primary hormone causing menstrual migraines, though progesterone level changes may also play a part for some women. Most people don’t know only 1% of serotonin in the human body is in the central nervous system, the other 99% is found in other tissues, primarily plasma, the gastro-intestinal tract, and immune tissues.

Estrogen and Serotonin Connection Serotonin acts as a hormone regulat-

ing various physiological functions includ- ing vasodilation, clotting, recruitment of immune cells, gastro-intestinal motility and initiation of uterine contraction. Estrogen af- fects how serotonin receptors are distributed and function in the body and concentrations of serotonin can be altered with natural and pharmacological estrogen. Imagine cor- recting the hormonal status of estrogen to then see mood, PMS, menstrual migraine and other undesired menstrual symptoms resolve because serotonin is functioning optimally in the body. Once hormone levels have been evaluated, treatment options may include vitamins, supplements, herbal formulas, and bodywork therapies.

Supplements and Therapies

1. Magnesium is an important nutrient to supplement in many migraine patients. The form of magnesium used for mi- graines will determine its effectiveness.

2. CoQ10 is used as a preventative therapy of migraine through its anti-oxidative effects and impact on mitochondrial health.

3. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) studies show a reduction in the frequency and duration of migraines due to it improving mitochondrial function. 33

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